For over 35 years, finalists' wonderful works of art have come to life in the spectacular annual WOW Show, held in Te Whanganui-a-Tara - Wellington, New Zealand - and attracting delighted audiences of around 60,000 people.
WOW Head of Competition, Sarah Nathan, describes the event as the perfect platform for people to fulfil their creative dreams.
“WOW finalists come from all corners of the globe and a broad spectrum of creative and technical disciplines. Our designer community is made up of fashion, textile and industrial designers, jewellers, costumers, architects, engineers, sculptors, painters, crafters, gardeners, doctors, and even boat builders! All you need is a strong creative concept and a commitment to robust, quality execution.”
Designers often share a common value – the desire to push the limits of imagination and medium.
“To see their vision come to life on stage through world class performance at the WOW Show is incredibly rewarding and often emotional for WOW designers. The creative team and models pour immense passion and care into understanding the garments, their inspiration, and stories.
“WOW was born from the idea of taking art off the wall and onto the moving body, and we see that year after year in the entries – both in terms of the visually striking and the important storytelling. We can’t wait to see what comes through for 2024,” Nathan says.
The opportunity to connect with other designers is also a huge part of the WOW experience, Nathan says.
“We’ve just finished hosting more than 100 finalists from all over the world for the 2023 WOW Awards and we had such incredible feedback about their time here, connecting with like-minds who share their passion for wearable art and creativity.”
To inspire designers when entering, there are six section themes or ‘worlds’ to consider. This includes three recurring sections; Aotearoa, Avant-garde and Open, and three new sections, Natural World, Geometric Abstraction, and Crazy Curiosities of the Creature Carnival that are unique to 2024.
Whether entering to design free from commercial restraints, to add to a student portfolio, or to push the limits of one’s imagination, the WOW Competition offers a truly unique creative outlet for all who enter.
Why Enter WOW?
As well as a total prize pool of over $185,000 (NZD), the WOW Competition offers the chance to access a Designer Development Award for future artistic growth, or an exclusive internship with global design company, Wētā Workshop (Wellington, New Zealand).
WOW also provides wearable art creatives and designers a platform to experiment with new techniques and technologies and build on professional portfolios of creative work.
When entering, designers become part of an international design community like no other and have the opportunity to have their work exhibited alongside other incredible designers and artists from around the world, to an emphatic audience of around 60,000 wearable art fans.
Who Can Enter WOW?
The WOW Competition is open to anyone over the age of 18, from anywhere around the world. Individuals or teams consisting of two or three designers are permitted.
Fundamental to the WOW Competition is the principle that anyone can enter, and anyone can win. Competition finalists are determined through a closed-judging process where the judges are presented with the garment name and inspiration; however, the designer’s details and background experience are not disclosed, allowing the work to be considered solely on its own merit. Full list of Competition Rules here.